Reginald Harris

Approaching Baltimore

(Magic City, Magic City, ya’ll
Got that Magic City, Magic City, ya’ll)
How the road leans
To where I’m from
—Approaching New York
by Michael Beyer
…the imploded high-rise, empty
houses rows of busted teeth in
a crooked smile. Trash-filled corner
lots. Ghetto Chinese, Yat Gaw Mein
with ketchup, with or without egg.
Six wings and fries. Black-clad homeboys
swimming down the block, calling
loose ones, loose ones (Magic City, Magic City, ya’ll) as they
pull up sagging baggies, bop away: No
easy way into this ugly beauty, once
elegant lady in a tattered dress (Magic City, Magic City, ya’ll). No
sweeping vistas from any approach – The highway
curves and there: a tangle of overpasses,
bombed out streets behind a scrim of
abandoned steel mills and auto plants,
unused loading docks. (Magic!)
Learn to live with, love, imperfection,
the close enough to right, whatever
will make do (Magic City, Magic City, ya’ll). Handsome men with
knife scars across the face, exhausted
women dragging three tattered children
down the street. What happens to a dream
transferred, out sourced, shuttered, boarded
up? Which ways take you in, and which way out? And what grows there?
Magic City, Magic City, ya’ll Got that Magic City, Magic City, ya’ll

Reginald Harris
Approaching Baltimore first appeared in Gargoyle, Issue #51.